The Prosecutor’s Office has filed more felony court cases than in previous years. From March 2021 to March 2022, 450 felony cases were filed in Nez Perce County District Court compared to 379 from the same time span the year prior. Currently, there are 223 open felony cases pending in court.
“We have had a 19% increase in felony crimes for three prosecutors to handle,” said Prosecutor Justin Coleman. The office has seen felony drug cases rise from 168 to 223 court filings.
“The most concerning trend we are seeing is the rise in mental health commitments. We have filed 27% more mental health cases than the previous year,” continued Prosecutor Coleman.
The office has also seen an increase in Domestic Violence throughout the county.
“Over the past year, there has been a 12% increase in Domestic Violence cases, which is alarming,” said Chief Prosecutor April Smith.
With the increase in case load, the courts are struggling to keep up. We are asking for the public’s patience while the crowded court system tries to work through the increase in cases and backlog from COVID. COVID-19 halted the court process and froze jury trials for nearly two years.
The Prosecutor’s Office has several high-profile cases going to trial in the upcoming months including two pending 1st Degree murder cases: State v. Clyde Ewing and State v. John Brashear.